Seductive lighting and loud, detailed sound give the Halo 100 Bluetooth speaker an impressive aura
- Powerful, crisp audio for the money
- Stunning lighting effects
- Fantastic connectivity
- Irritating static noise
- Sub-par battery life
As is the case with most Chinese manufacturers, Tronsmart tends to undercut its competition with aggressive pricing and the Halo 100 is no exception, offering powerful audio, alluring LED lighting and a number of connectivity options for under £100.
Tronsmart Halo 100 review: What do you get for the money?
The Tronsmart Halo 100 is priced at £90 and is available via Amazon. It was released alongside the Tronsmart Halo 110, which is ostensibly the same speaker but has a microphone socket and includes a mic for karaoke. The Halo 100 operates wirelessly over Bluetooth 5.3 with codec support limited to SBC, which is understandable given its price.
Measuring 198 x 150 x 287mm (WDH) and weighing 2.72kg, it is larger and heavier than your average portable Bluetooth speakers – albeit, still marginally lighter and more compact than the four-star rated Tronsmart Bang. Like that model, the Halo 100 has a handle to make it easier to carry and is IPX6 rated for water resistance meaning it’s protected against powerful, multi-directional water jets.
The Halo 100’s speaker configuration is visible from its front, showcasing two mid-tweeters and a large woofer that together resemble an open-mouthed face. A smaller, less visible tweeter also sits above the ‘eyes’, while a 5.6in passive radiator hides behind the ‘mouth’. The design most closely resembles the Soundcore Rave Neo which is available for £40 more, however, the Halo 100 offers an additional 10W of power at 60W. For even greater oomph, there’s the JBL Boombox 2 (80W when plugged-in), Soundcore Motion Boom Plus (80W) or the JBL Xtreme 3 (100W), however, you’ll be paying between £80 and £150 more for that extra audio muscle.
The Halo 100 takes five and a half hours to fully charge and has a stated battery life of up to 18 hours, though this figure is impacted by how loud you’re playing your music and whether you’re using the LED lighting. The speaker’s USB-C charging port is located at the base of its rear alongside an impressive range of ports. There’s a 3.5mm input to support a wired connection, a TF card slot for playing externally stored files, and a USB-A port that supports flash drives while also enabling the speaker to function as a power bank.
LED lighting is found on the cone of the woofer and the two mid-tweeters, with the effects controlled via the Tronsmart app or simply turned on/off via a physical button on the crest of the speaker. Other physical controls for audio playback, stereo pairing with another Halo speaker, and activating Tronsmart’s proprietary equaliser mode, SoundPulse, are also found here. Four more EQ presets can be found in the Tronsmart app, along with a customisable five-band graphic equaliser.
Tronsmart Halo 100 review: What do we like about it?
Sound quality is key to the success of any speaker and I’m happy to report that the Tronsmart Halo 100 produces spectacular results for the money.
The deep, guttural bass on Amnesia Scanner’s industrial electronic track “AS Too Wrong” hit just right and made me want to push the volume up higher, while metallic and squeaky drum fills and alien vocals remained crisp and lively at higher volumes. Pushed to its limits, the Halo 100 almost proved too loud for my flat and moved the neighbours above me to ask what the commotion was about.
The way the Tronsmart app and its equaliser dovetail with the Halo 100 is pleasingly slick. It’s easy to switch between the various EQ presets – Default, Deep Bass, Rock, Classical, SoundPulse – and each distinctly alters the Halo 100’s default U-shaped sound signature. Its patented SoundPulse mode is the most universally useful, providing increased detail and volume, but the custom EQ is also effective at allowing you to create a profile tuned to your personal tastes.
It’s not all about the app, either. While the physical controls feel a little cheaply constructed, the amount of control offered by them is impressive, with 18 different functions in total. Double-tapping the play button to activate your device’s voice assistant is a particularly convenient one, with Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant all effectively answering queries. Unlike some speakers I’ve tested, responses are broadcast through the speaker so there’s no need to check your phone for written results either.
Likewise, the ability to switch between sources by simply pressing the mode button is very handy. Doing so allows you to cycle through the Bluetooth, TF/SD card, USB-A drive and AUX-in modes quickly and having such a range of playback options is very welcome. The lack of a digital display to view and select tracks on external storage is a little frustrating but is to be expected – incorporating one would push the price up considerably.
When connected to two devices simultaneously over Bluetooth, the Halo 100 will automatically switch to the device that’s playing audio, a nice touch given Bluetooth is likely to be the primary form of connection for most people.
Equally handy for a party, and one of the most appealing aspects of the Tronsmart Halo 100, is its LED lighting. While portable speakers like the LG XBOOM Go XG7 offer more impressive customisation choices, the effect produced pales in comparison. This is chiefly down to the size of the respective models: the larger frame of the Halo 100 allows for bigger lights with more impactful effects.
There are five LED modes to select from: Ballet, Party, City of Phantoms, Carousel and Starry Night. I won’t break down exactly what each does but my favourite was ‘Carousel’ mode, which sees sufficiently bassy beats change the colour of the dual mid-tweeter lights and increase the oscillation speed of the woofer light. The large LEDs are a practical design choice too, since the woofer light shows the current volume level as a percentage of its wheel shape when changed. Speakers that have a slim strip of lights, like the Tronsmart Bang, get nowhere close to matching the show on display here.
All of that functionality and fun is packaged into a build that, while not lightweight or luxurious, is carried fairly easily via its handle and is sufficiently waterproofed for use outdoors.
Tronsmart Halo 100 review: What could be improved?
Something that majorly impacted my day-to-day usage of the Tronsmart Halo 100 was the static noise it produces. It’s always there, but is typically masked by what you’re playing, assuming you have the volume above 25% and aren’t in very close proximity to the speaker.
However, its presence did limit when I used the Halo 100. I was less inclined to employ it for low-volume listening late at night or early in the morning, or when wanting to enjoy ambient music genres, podcasts or films since I found myself at best distracted and at worst irritated by the electrical hissing.
Since the Halo 100 is designed for loud partying, and performs well at this task, this shouldn’t be a massive concern for most buyers. But it does shape how you use the Halo 100 and limit its effectiveness as an all-round speaker.
Battery life is another agitation. After less than four hours of usage at 80% volume and lighting effects activated, the battery dropped to 50%. Within another four hours, the battery was dead. Eight hours of high-volume listening isn’t terrible for a speaker of this size and you can get closer to the stated figure of 18 hours by turning the LED lights off and dropping down the volume. But by doing so you’ll be missing out on the Halo 100’s most distinctive feature and 18 hours is still a figure bettered by a number of our favourite Bluetooth speakers.
The customisation of the Halo 100’s lighting effects could be improved to make the most of its large LEDs, too. Speakers such as the LG XBOOM Go XG7 let you create millions of colour combinations by selecting different hues and saturations from a colour wheel. The Halo 100’s preselected colour ranges feel a little restrictive by comparison. This is a minor criticism considering the presets offer a solid range of expressive patterns, but those looking to create a particular mood via specific colours might be a tad disappointed.
Tronsmart Halo 100 review: Should you buy one?
The Tronsmart Halo 100 is a speaker that attracts attention for the right reasons. Its roaring power will turn heads and keep their attention through sonic clarity and stunning lighting. The level of control and customisation it offers is impressive, as is the range of sources from which it can play audio. Throw in power bank capabilities and decent waterproofing and you’ve got yourself a well-rounded portable party speaker.
It’s not all good news, however. The static noise it produces makes it a poor choice for low-volume listening and battery life isn’t great if you’re making the most out of the Halo 100’s punchy delivery and eye-catching lights.
Forgive those ills and the Tronsmart Halo 100 is well worth considering for those seeking a powerful party speaker at a very reasonable price.